The Home Coming

My grandmother once told me a story of four yogis. The first was a Bhakti yogi, one who felt that devotion and love for God in his physical form was the right way to please him. The Bhakta’s emotions ruled his heart and soul.

The second was a gyana yogi. He let his head rule over everything else. He viewed everything with intelligence and reasoning. He was not the emotional kind.

The third was a karmayogi. He was a workaholic. He felt that without work there was no life. He practised that ‘Work is worship’ and it was the only way to seek the favour of the Almighty God.

The fourth was a Kriyayogi. He felt that work, form and emotions all were illusions. Everything around us is just cosmic energy. Unless every action, thought, word or deed was directed to the transformation of energy and channelling the same, nothing would be right.

“Well”, said Grandma, “Since all these four yogis were so different in nature, they could never pull along together, they never agreed to do anything jointly. But surprisingly one night they were strolling together in a forest and it started to rain. They ran for shelter to an ancient Temple.

There was an old Shiva Lingam in the centre. Four pillars around it held up an old creaky roof. But it was enough to shelter them from the rain. Soon, the rain became more and more violent and started coming down in sheets. The storm was full of fury and the wind whistled through the forest as the trees swayed dangerously all around. The four yogis huddled closer and closer for fear of being blown away by the mighty tempest. Eventually all of them were hugging and clinging onto the Shiva Lingam in order to anchor themselves to the ground.

Suddenly they felt something happening to them all. There was a Divine presence emanating from the lingam and enveloping them all in its overpowering embrace. It was like a homecoming. Each one thought the same thing. “All these years I have performed yogic penance but never felt your presence Lord, as I feel you now! Why today of all days? Why in the middle of this forest, in this stormy night!” And God said compassionately “Today all four of you have got together. Till you did that, how could I have come?”

In the core of our hearts, these four aspects of our personality fight over each other. Sometimes we try Bhakti, Gyan, Karma or Kriya to win over the Lord. But if only we were to try moderation and let each have its own place in our life and let all of them coexist, in harmony; God would soon accept us as His and that would be a homecoming for us too.

In society too it is very important to learn to tolerate each other and other schools of thought or viewpoints. Too much rigidity leads to fanaticism. Flexibility in thought, word and deed is congruent with a well-groomed personality. Unity in diversity is beautiful.